The road less travelled
If health is on your side right now and your home and belongings are secure in a convenient, lock-up-and-go location - such as a retirement village - there are many holiday accommodation options to explore that don’t require you to tow a caravan or lock into a packaged airfare and hotel deal. Of course, these are great holiday options as well, but consider taking the road less travelled! If the adventurer in you is begging you to come out and play, here are some economical and adventurous holiday options that you may want to explore. Go on, we dare you!
A campervan adventure
You may be keen to head off to an offshore destination where towing your caravan is simply not an option but you love the idea of being completely mobile while you take time to explore. Or, you may not have a caravan but crave the idea of a road trip where you can pull over for the night at a whim. If you’re confident behind the wheel of a larger vehicle, hiring a campervan may be an option worth exploring. Generally campervan hire covers the supply of everything you need apart from food, toiletries, camping ground fees and fuel. Being somewhat afflicted by caffeine dependency, we were pleasantly surprised on one campervan trip to find a stovetop espresso maker in the cupboard. We were also provided with supplies of a fresh towel each for every night we were away! Most scenic areas that market campervans for hire are regions that are well established in accommodating mobile accommodation. Tasmania and New Zealand’s South Island are just a couple of close-to-home examples. As with any vehicle hire, it’s always a wise investment to pay a little extra to cover insurances so you can enjoy your holiday with minimal worry. An internet search using the keyword phrase ‘campervan hire in [the name of the area you want to travel]’ should get you off to a good start.
The romance of a ski chalet (minus the snow)
Perhaps you love the romanticism associated with holidaying in a ski resort chalet, but the thought of being caught in a blizzard chills you to the bone – winter is just not your season? Many ski resorts offer year round accommodation at a fraction of the price of staying in peak ski season. The road climb up to the ‘snowfields’ without snow or ice to contend with makes for a much more relaxed drive through stunning landscapes. There’s often still the same sense of quiet, the same aroma of woodlands or forests and a whole lot of activity, just no snow or wind chill factor to deal with. Popular activities such as mountain biking, hiking, cycling and white water rafting, just to name a few, mean that the ski resorts still offer cafes, hotels, restaurants and general supply stores to cater for everyone. So pack a good pair of hiking shoes and indulge in some fresh mountain air. Time it right (mountain ranges tend to cool down quickly once the sun goes down), and you could still fulfil the vision of sitting around a snug fire with mulled wine in hand. Contact the Tourist Information Centre for the region that you would like to explore to find out about snowfield accommodation.
Embrace and experience rural life
A farm stay (or ‘farmstay’) is an accommodation experience where you stay and participate in life on a working farm. The quality of accommodation can vary from basic cabins or dormitories, tents on platforms or ‘yurts’ depending on where in the world you are staying, through to indulgent bed and breakfast stays. In some cases, a ‘farmstay’ may include a work agreement where you might undertake work on a farm for reduced rates, or even free accommodation. Many farm stays are interactive and offer farm life experiences such as milking some goats, collecting fresh eggs for your breakfast or helping nurse a baby animal or two. As a rough guide, the more work you are contributing to the workings of a commercial farm, the more economical the accommodation. A Tourist Information Centre for the area you are planning to travel will be able to assist you with information on any farm stay accommodation that may be available.
Live like a local by exchanging your home for someone else’s
A house swap or house exchange is literally that – formally coordinating an arrangement to find, match and swap houses with another home owner in an area you want to holiday or experience living in. Pop in the keyword phrase ‘house exchange’ or ‘house swap’ into an internet search and you’ll be surprised at the number of formal house exchange options available to you. Imagine being able to enjoy a holiday without incurring any costs for accommodation and knowing that, in the meantime, your home is not sitting vacant while you enjoy a short or longer term stay in a part of the world you’ve always dreamed of experiencing. You will need to pay a registration fee if you plan to use a reputable house exchange agency. Registration fees are generally nominal and paid on an annual basis.
This is a holiday experience that truly lets you step into someone else’s shoes and live like the locals live. Not everyone is comfortable sharing their home with strangers however a reputable house exchange agency will be only too happy to discuss your concerns, offer solutions and share successful house exchange stories to put you at ease. A reputable house exchange agency will also only be too happy to put you in contact with experienced house swappers to provide references. If you’re looking into a longer term stay, you may want to consider putting all your belongings, apart from the bare minimum in storage. This type of holiday option is best sourced by word of mouth, so if you’re keen, start asking around.
Short term accommodation rental
If your idea of a holiday is more than a week away and you like the idea of staying put to explore an area for a few weeks, or months, you may want to explore the short term rental accommodation available in the area you are travelling to. Beyond a one week stay, a short term rental accommodation will generally be much more economical than a stay at a holiday resort or hotel. If you are a group of friends or family holidaying together, a short term house rental may more convenient than hotel rooms, to accommodate everyone in the one spot and share the costs. Of course, if you are planning on investigating short term rental accommodation overseas, make sure the term of your stay is within your visa conditions! An internet search of local real estate agents in the area you want to stay, or for holiday rental accommodation should see you on your way to finding somewhere to rent and enjoy.
A holiday that gives something back
Volunteering for a worthy cause can be a great way to experience life in another part of Australia, or the world and contribute to a community or ecosystem in need at the same time.
Charity, environmental and humanitarian organisations often put out calls for volunteers. Generally, you would be responsible for arranging travel and covering costs, to and from the destination. Basic accommodation and meals are then often supplied for the term of your voluntary contribution. This could be a life changing experience for you, and for the community that you are working with. Volunteer work can range from cleaning bathrooms in an orphanage, to counting frogs, to removing rubbish, to project coordinating an irrigation project, to teaching English as a second language, to applying your specific professional experience and skills to better the lives of a community. The term of a project could be anywhere from a few hours, to a few years.
To explore this option, think about what you might be able to contribute with your skills and experience, or if there is a cause that you feel passionate about helping and then start contacting organisations that you would like to get involved with. They will be only too happy to point you in the right direction to volunteer opportunities available.
Taking the road less travelled makes for rich life experiences, and great dinner table conversation!
If you’re living in or around Melbourne or Victoria, in your senior years and planning your retirement, or are a retiree that has already retired and your current living situation doesn’t free you up to explore travel options like these, you may want to consider looking into retirement village accommodation as an option. We’d love to meet you and show you how living in a well planned retirement village can free you up to make the most of your retirement years. Come and see us today at one of our three retirement villages: